Bedminster Down students have created a ‘fragility of freedom’ themed digital memorial to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

The school’s Genocide Awareness Project Group delivered an emotive whole-school assembly on the Holocaust. Afterwards, they asked students and staff to write a short message about what freedom means to them on a cardboard luggage tag. The tag symbolised the fragility of freedom when people are displaced.  Examples of messages included:

‘Peace and rights to vote, live, travel and have a family; this is freedom.’

‘Emotionally, mentally and spiritually free.’

‘Freedom is to love and be loved.’

The project group collected over 800 luggage tags and displayed them as a memorial to the lives lost to genocide. This process was filmed and used to create the digital memorial.

Verdi’s Requiem was used as the soundtrack to honour the memory of those who lost their lives at the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp. Courageous Jewish prisoners in the camp defiantly performed Verdi’s Requiem while experiencing the depths of human despair sixteen times, including one performance before senior SS officials. Conductor Rafael Schächter told the choir, “We will sing to the Nazis what we cannot say to them”.

The digital memorial has been shared with Bristol Archives and the Holocaust Memorial Day trust, and can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVP1GUklnOo.

Following the memorial’s success, Ms West, the humanities curriculum team leader, successfully applied for BDS to become part of the UCL Beacon School Programme in Holocaust Education. This signals the school’s commitment to high-quality, research-informed Holocaust education.

The Beacon School Programme is the flagship initiative of the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education. Now in its twelfth year, the programme provides a cohort of schools with sustained research-informed professional development in Holocaust education. Through this process, schools become dynamic hubs and local leaders in teaching and learning about the Holocaust. Staff and students at BDS look forward to making the most of this opportunity and becoming an influencing school in the teaching and learning of Holocaust education.